The Ben, Will & JD Hayes-trained Cox...
Chris Waller’s Melbourne Cup hero Verry Elleegant makes her highly-anticipated return to racing in Sydney this weekend lining-up in a star-studded edition of the Apollo Stakes 2022.
Group 1 racing may be taking place in Melbourne in the form of the C.F. Orr Stakes on Saturday, but there will also be plenty of eyes on Royal Randwick with an outstanding line-up gathered for the Group 2 $250,000 Apollo Stakes (1400m).
The important Sydney Autumn Racing Carnival lead-up has drawn a final field of 14 including last year’s winning trifecta of Colette (1st), Kolding (2nd) and super mare Verry Elleegant (3rd).
Waller has won the Apollo Stakes five times since 2008, including four on the trot from 2016-19 thanks to the Winx three-peat (2016, 2017, 2019) and the 2018 success of Endless Drama.
This year his contingent finishes both placegetters from last year, along with four-year-old Frankel mare Hungry Heart chasing her first turf triumph since the Group 1 Australian Oaks (2400m) in April last year.
For Zed mare Verry Elleegant, this will be her third Apollo Stakes following a 4th in 2020 behind Alizee and last year’s third place finish.
She went on to win the Group 1 Chipping Norton Stakes – Ranvet Stakes double last autumn before a Queen Elizabeth Stakes second and had an equally incredible spring that concluded with her brilliant four-length success in the iconic Group 1 Melbourne Cup (3200m) at Flemington.
James McDonald retains the ride for her return from barrier one, Verry Elleegant the $5 second favourite in the latest Apollo Stakes betting markets at Ladbrokes.com.au.
Kolding in barrier five for hoop Sam Clipperton is a $34 outsider following a disappointing spring campaign or the reigning All Aged Stakes winner, while Hungry Heart is at $21 and easing to return to her better form.
As for the Godolphin-raced Colette, the five-year-old Hallowed Crown mare is the early Apollo Stakes market mover well backed from $9 to $6.50 to go back-to-back.
Trainer James Cummings is after his third straight Apollo Stakes win having also prepared Alizee in 2020 and Colette looks well placed first-up in barrier four with Tim Clark aboard.
She has won once fresh from four previous first-up runs and was strong int eh spring including her Group 1 Empire Rose Stakes (1600m) win on Derby Day.
Race favourite at Apollo Stakes odds of $3.90 and firming meanwhile is the ultra-consistent Kerry Parker-trained Think It Over.
Nash Rawiller rides the top elect from barrier 10 with the So You Think six-year-old looking to add to his good first-up strike rate (7:3-2-0).
A winner of four of his past five runs last prep, Think It Over was last seen carting 61kg to victory in the Rosehill Cup (2000m).
Last February he won Randwick’s Group 3 Liverpool City Cup (1300m) fresh and his first-up sixth in the Group 1 Winx Stakes (1400m) in August saw him under a length beaten in a photo-finish.
In an open market the Gai Waterhouse & Adrian Bott-trained Riodini ($8.50) with form around both Verry Elleegant and Think It Over from the spring, and John O’Shea’s import Maximal ($9) having just his second run in Australia round out the single-figure fancies.
2022 Apollo Stakes Field & Barrier Draw
|No||Last 10||Horse||Trainer||Jockey||Barrier||Weight||Probable Weight||Penalty||Hcp Rating|
|1||14x613111x||THINK IT OVER||Kerry Parker||Nash Rawiller||10||59kg||116|
|2||22501x599x||KOLDING (NZ)||Chris Waller||Sam Clipperton||5||59kg||115|
|3||13x545432x||CASCADIAN (GB)||James Cummings||Regan Bayliss||11||59kg||112|
|4||x4100x582x||I AM SUPERMAN (IRE)||Peter & Paul Snowden||Tommy Berry||14||59kg||106|
|5||009×988121||SPECIAL REWARD||Kris Lees||Glyn Schofield||3||59kg||106|
|6||0x8752208x||RIODINI (NZ)||Gai Waterhouse & Adrian Bott||Ms Rachel King||9||59kg||104|
|7||00x877247x||SIKANDARABAD (IRE)||Sam Kavanagh||12||59kg||92|
|8||18x2242x6x||MAXIMAL (GB)||John O’Shea||Hugh Bowman||2||58.5kg||96|
|9||112x21431x||VERRY ELLEEGANT (NZ)||Chris Waller||James McDonald||1||57kg||122|
|10||454x65118x||COLETTE||James Cummings||Tim Clark||4||57kg||112|
|11||42x354912x||ICEBATH (NZ)||Brad Widdup||Kerrin McEvoy||13||57kg||108|
|12||111x84837x||HUNGRY HEART||Chris Waller||Chad Schofield||6||57kg||107|
|13||24x371970x||SHE’S IDEEL||Bjorn Baker||Jason Collett||7||57kg||105|
|14||1121x3610x||DUAIS||Edward Cummings||Joshua Parr||8||57kg||104|
Table Credit: Racing Australia.
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